Cairo: The Complete Guide

Cairo- The Complete Guide

Located on the land connecting Africa and Asia, Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and the 7th most populous city in the world. It serves as the center of commerce, economy, education, and tourism in the country, and its name translates to “victorious” in Arabic. Throughout its history, Cairo has been conquered by various empires, resulting in a rich cultural and historical background that has made it one of the world’s most renowned tourist destinations. As the capital of Egyptian civilization, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Cairo is home to numerous historical artifacts that may pique your interest. The city boasts many attractions, including the Cheops pyramid, one of the seven wonders of the world. Having been a highly developed city for thousands of years, Cairo has become a prominent destination for tourism.

Visiting Cairo for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Cairo on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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6 Best places to See in Cairo

This complete guide to Cairo not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Cairo and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

The Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum,Cairo
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Bs0u10e01
The largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities in the world can be found at the Egyptian Museum, which is also the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East. Its comprehensive collection ranges from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Era. In 1895, an international competition was held to select an architect for the building, which was […]
Location: The Egyptian Museum, قسم قصر النيل، El-Tahrir Square, Ismailia, Qasr El Nil, Egypt | Hours: 9am-7pm Mon-Wed, to 9pm Sun & Thu, to 4pm Fri & Sat | Price: adult/student LE120/60, after 5.30pm Sun & Thu LE180/90, Royal Mummies Room LE150/75, camera LE50 | Egyptian Museum, Citadel, and Old Cairo Guided Tour | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting The Egyptian Museum
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Cairo Tower

Cairo Tower
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Frank Schulenburg
The Borg El-Qāhira, also known as the Cairo Tower, is a freestanding concrete tower situated in Cairo, Egypt. Standing at 187 meters (614 feet), it held the title of the tallest structure in Egypt for 37 years, until it was overtaken by the Suez Canal overhead powerline crossing in 1998. Similarly, it was the tallest […]
Location: Cairo Tower, Al Borg, Zamalek, Egypt | Hours: 8am-midnight, to 1am summer | Price: adult/child under 6yr LE70/free | Website | Distance: 1.10km
Visiting Cairo Tower
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Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids Of Giza
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Jarb61
The Giza necropolis, located in Egypt, is a famous historical site that comprises of the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx. These impressive structures were constructed during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, between 2500 and 2600 BC. Additionally, the site houses several […]
Location: The Great Pyramid of Giza, Al Haram, Nazlet El-Semman, Al Giza Desert, Egypt | Hours: 8am-4pm | Price: adult/student LE120/60 | Giza Pyramids and Sphinx: Half-Day Private Tour | Distance: 12.20km
Visiting Pyramids of Giza
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Saqqara Pyramid
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Charles J. Sharp
Saqqara, the extensive necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, is located approximately 17 miles (27 kilometers) south of downtown Cairo. Named after the Memphite god of the dead, Sokar, it is Egypt’s largest archaeological site. Although its pyramids may not be as well-known as those in neighboring Giza, some of them, such as […]
Location: Saqqara Necropolis, Badrshein, Egypt | Distance: 19.60km
Visiting Saqqara
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Ramses II Colossal Statue In Memphis
Public Domain / Barrylb
Memphis, the ancient city and capital of Egypt, played a significant role throughout much of the country’s history. Situated on the west bank of the Nile River, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of modern-day Cairo, Memphis is located south of the Nile River delta. The famous pyramids of Egypt are found within the cemeteries […]
Location: Memphis, Mit Rahinah, Badrshein, Egypt | Distance: 22.30km
Visiting Memphis
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Bent Pyramid
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Gary Ku
The 12th dynasty (1938–c. 1756 BCE) constructed the remaining three pyramids at Dahshūr, which are not well preserved as their inner cores were mostly constructed with mud bricks. The tombs of the royal families situated near these pyramids included an impressive collection of jewelry and personal items. Some scholars consider these artifacts to represent the […]
Location: Bent Pyramid, Badrshein, Egypt | Distance: 28.40km
Visiting Dahshūr
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Best Time to Visit Cairo

The best time to visit Cairo is during the cooler months from October to April. During this period, the weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the outdoor attractions such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and walking through the historic streets of Islamic Cairo. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during these months:

Autumn (October to November)

Autumn offers a reprieve from the hot summer, with temperatures gradually cooling down, making it more comfortable to visit outdoor sites and enjoy the city. The average temperatures range from 20°C to 29°C (68°F to 84°F). This time of year is less crowded than the peak winter season, providing a more relaxed atmosphere for sightseeing.

Winter (December to February)

Winter is the peak tourist season in Cairo due to the very mild weather, with temperatures rarely falling below 10°C (50°F) at night, and daytime highs around 20°C (68°F). The pleasant weather is perfect for spending extended time outdoors. However, it’s also the busiest time, so expect more tourists and higher prices for accommodations. Additionally, December and January can see occasional rain, though it’s generally light and infrequent.

Early Spring (March to April)

Early spring is another excellent time to visit. The temperatures are similar to autumn, making it comfortable for touring around. However, by late April, the temperature begins to rise, leading into the hotter months. Like autumn, early spring sees fewer tourists compared to winter, offering a quieter experience.

Tips for Visiting

  • Avoid Summer: Cairo’s summers (May to September) are hot and dry, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 35°C (95°F), which can make outdoor activities uncomfortable.
  • Cultural Events: Winter and early spring are also good times to experience local cultural events and festivals.
  • Ramadan: If you plan to visit during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, note that many restaurants and shops may have altered hours, and the pace of life slows down considerably during the day.

Choosing to visit Cairo in the cooler months not only ensures a more comfortable exploration of this historic city but also enriches the travel experience by avoiding the extreme heat typical of the Egyptian summer.

Average Temperatures in Cairo

  • January 23°C 0
  • February 25°C 1
  • March 29°C 1
  • April 33°C 0
  • May 37°C 0
  • June 38°C 0
  • July 41°C 0
  • August 40°C 0
  • September 38°C 0
  • October 33°C 0
  • November 29°C 0
  • December 24°C 0

How to get to Cairo

Getting to Cairo, the bustling capital city of Egypt, is straightforward due to its status as a major cultural, economic, and educational hub in the Middle East. Here are the primary ways to reach Cairo:

By Air

Cairo International Airport (CAI) is the main gateway for international travelers coming to Cairo. It is the busiest airport in Egypt and one of the busiest in Africa. The airport hosts flights from all over the world, including major cities in North America, Europe, Asia, and other parts of Africa. From the airport, you can take a taxi, a bus, or arrange a private transfer to get to the city center.

By Train

For travelers already in Egypt, trains are a convenient and affordable option to reach Cairo. The Egyptian National Railways operates numerous trains daily from various parts of the country, including major cities like Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan. The trains vary in comfort and speed, offering options from regular to first-class services. Ramses Station, the main railway station in Cairo, is centrally located and connects easily to other parts of the city via taxis and buses.

By Road

Driving to Cairo is another option if you are in or near Egypt. The city is well-connected by a network of roads and highways. Long-distance buses also operate between Cairo and most major cities and towns throughout Egypt. Companies like GoBus and SuperJet offer regular services that are comfortable and air-conditioned. The bus terminals in Cairo are well-connected to the local transport network, making it easy to reach your final destination in the city.

By Nile Cruise

Some visitors opt to travel to Cairo as part of a Nile cruise package, which typically starts in cities like Luxor or Aswan. These cruises offer a leisurely and scenic way to see the historic sites along the Nile before ending in Cairo. While this is a less common way to arrive in Cairo, it’s an option that combines transportation with tourism.

Local Transportation

Once in Cairo, you have several options for getting around:

  • Metro: Cairo’s metro system is one of the oldest in the Middle East and Africa. It’s an efficient and affordable way to get around the city, avoiding traffic jams.
  • Taxis: Taxis are widely available and can be hailed on the street. It’s advisable to agree on the fare before starting your journey or ensure the meter is used.
  • Ride-Sharing Apps: Services like Uber and Careem are available in Cairo and can be a more convenient and safer option than traditional taxis.
  • Buses and Microbuses: These are available but can be crowded and less comfortable than other options.

Whether arriving by air, train, road, or even by river, Cairo is highly accessible. Once there, the city offers a range of transportation options suited to different preferences and budgets.

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